Viatris: Empowering a diverse workforce through collaboration

Updated: Jun 28

Organisational mergers mean changes and challenges for employees in terms of adapting to a new culture, structure, and performance. When Pfizer’s Upjohn and Mylan combined in 2019 to form Viatris, the HR turned what seems to be a disruption into collaboration. Jeff Bote, the pharmaceutical company’s country manager in Malaysia, shares its new HR opportunities in an interview with Chief of Staff Asia.

Bote, a veteran in the pharmaceutical industry for more than 25 years, emphasized that Viatris is a “work in progress that still reflects some of the legacy groups’ systems.’’ The company remains anchored on its standing as an employer, being a part of the Forbes' list of best employers in 2021, Fortune’s Change the World list (fifth out of 53 companies), and Newsweek’s America’s Most Responsible Companies 2022.

The vision for the newly formed organisation reflects what the name Viatris communicates according to its chief executive officer, Michael Goettler: “the strength of our companies’ combined heritage and our shared goal to provide the highest-quality medicines to the most patients possible.”

COS Asia: What HR opportunities were present when you combined the legacy organisations Mylan and Upjohn to form Viatris?

Bote: Our combined workforce of more than 38,000 globally, with a strong background, talents, and a diverse portfolio, presents an opportunity to further our offerings and purpose.

From an HR perspective, it is the opportunity to collaborate with new colleagues, learn something new, and create a new kind of healthcare company that would empower people to live healthier at every stage of life.

It was like having a founder mentality. At times, I feel we are a startup, but with the resources and revenues of a Fortune 500 company that put us in the top 10 pharmaceutical companies in Malaysia.

In 2021, we made progress on IQVIA, which shows we are heading in the right direction by moving from the 11th position to the 8th. (IQVIA is a healthcare-focused global analytics platform enabling transformed business and patient outcomes.)

COS Asia: The pandemic has revealed the readiness, or the lack thereof, of a country's healthcare system. How does Viatris demonstrate its presence in this aspect?

Bote: This unprecedented pandemic has tremendous strain on our healthcare system. To respond to the concerns on medication supply, Viatris ensures a steady inventory of medicines starting from manufacturing.

Access to healthcare and medicine remains important, especially when people were on lockdown at the height of the pandemic. Viatris worked with some of our key customers for the medicine delivery programme to ensure that patients can continue their treatment at home.

People turn to social media for information on diseases, mental health, or pain. Hence, we collaborated with the Mental Illness Awareness and Support Association (MIASA), and the Malaysian Psychiatric Association (MPA) to bring health-related information online with Facebook Live discussions. We also have our patient information website called My Health My Life containing information on non-communicable diseases.

Also, one of our first responses was a video message to boost the morale of frontline health practitioners, thanking and supporting them for their great work.

This feature was extracted from Chief of Staff Asia's exclusive interview with Jeff Bote, Country Manager of Viatris in Malaysia. For further coverage please see any of the below links:

Viatris: Empowering a diverse workforce through collaboration

The Viatris Way: Performance, engagement, and inclusiveness

Jeff Bote: Aligning personal and company goals

Getting to know: Jeff Bote

Viatris manager Jeff Bote sits down with Chief of Staff Asia

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